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Norwich City 1 v 0 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 25th November 2023 Kick-off 15:00
The biggest small club, the smallest big club – Preview
Friday, 24th Nov 2023 20:25 by Clive Whittingham

Norwich and QPR, founder Premier League members, hobbled by their own incompetence and now rapidly being left behind by the grotesque excesses of their sport, have both turned to forward-thinking progressives to try and guide their benevolent ownership ahead of Saturday’s meeting.

Norwich (6-2-8 DLLLLW 16th) v QPR (2-4-10 LLLLDD 23rd)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday November 25, 2023 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Damp, windy >>> Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk

QPR are the biggest small club, and the smallest big club. I don’t know who came up with that first, but it’s inspired. We’ve taken it to our hearts/ripped it off remorselessly.

QPR like to think of ourselves as the club of Bowles, Marsh and Francis. We’re also the club that had Tony Roberts in goal and Karl Ready at centre half… for ten years (!!).

A large proportion of the club’s demographic remember it in cup finals, in Europe, in the top five of the top division; but within living memory we’ve also been in the third tier, and we lost to Vauxhall Motors while we were there.

We have, in our time, completed some of the greatest pound-for-pound transfers the game in this country has ever seen – Dave Thomas from Burnley, Stan Bowles from Carlisle, Les Ferdinand from Hayes, Andy Sinton from Brentford, Trevor Sinclair from Blackpool, Adel Taarabt from Spurs – and yet our record signing was, is, and probably always ever shall be £12m for a part-used Chris Samba fresh from his extras role in Big Momma’s House.

We have, on three occasions, scored goals of such breathtaking beauty the nation voted them their overall best of the season (in Sinclair’s case it was the greatest of all time); we’ve also avoided relegation from the First Division with an own goal so magnificent that its scorer, Jamie Pollock, beat Jesus Christ into second place in the University of California’s Man of the Millennium poll.

So imbued with enthusiasm by a 4-1 New Year’s Day win away at Manchester United my dad drove me from Grimsby to Southampton to see the next match – we lost 2-0, missed a penalty, and exited the FA Cup in the Third Round. Our fans reminisce about the walk to Wembley in 1982, and the Bobby Zamora play-off final winner, but we’ve lost at that first stage of the FA Cup more than any other club in the country.

We aspire to the Premier League, and despite our present position being about par for the course in our history feel like we’re under-achieving if we’re not there – we also play in a decaying, 18,000-seater stadium with no running water.

It's also a perfect saying for when QPR are doing really QPR things. Like the first time we got money, and Patrick Agyemang turned up looking for two years at six grand a week and walked away with four years at 12. Or the second time we got money, and Peter Odemwingie was so keen for a slice of it he turned up at the stadium live on television and we had to lock the doors and leave him to peer into the reception.

Cruising to promotion under Neil Warnock, we find ourselves facing multiple (entirely legitimate and correct) charges of signing a player illegally for undeclared amounts of money using unregistered agents (which we had done). In a hearing which we successfully push back to the final week of the season we escape, in part, because a letter turns up in a drawer from a secretary in South America saying, essentially, it’s all fine. Can the hearing speak to the secretary? No, your honour, it cannot. Unconfirmed reports say it was written with a wax crayon. Spiv club, as Marc Bircham often says.

There was that time we fixed up a nice brand awareness-building friendly against one of the Chinese U21s, and it turned into a running riot that made the national news and caused a diplomatic incident.

Schedule a fans forum with the manager, the chief executive, and the billionaire owner? Spend 20 minutes talking about whether we should run one official coach or two to Fleetwood. Draw nil nil at Norwich midweek? Go viral for three days because somebody’s accused his missus of copping off with a “6ft 18-year-old” in the bogs at half time.

The last person who tried to write a “QPR The Banter Years” thread for Twitter ended up dying of thirst at their keyboard. You could do an 80-post thread on the last six months.

I was at the Blackburn game with my Sheff Wed mate who, sensing I needed distracting from the brain aneurism Ziyad Larkeche was inflicting on the inside of my skull, asked why Hull City’s mascot was kicking about at the side of the pitch with our own Jude. Well, I explained, when we got new Italian owners, and became de facto the richest club in world football, the first thing they wanted to do was to get rid of the black cat because they considered it unlucky. However, a lot of the fully grown adults among us are very attached to Jude and the story behind him/her, so we spray painted his head silver to see if that would satisfy the megalomaniacs in the directors’ box. Problem was we used standard, off-the-shelf, silver spray paint, which meant Jude could only be on the pitch for 45 seconds at a time and make it barely as far as the centre spot before the bloke in the suit passed out and required resuscitation by the St John’s Ambulance. Deciding that Jude being carted off in a body bag was a bad look they put a story in the official matchday programme saying he/she had “gone to live on a farm” and that our mascot was now Spark, a tiger – presumably because one of those rich freaks had a tiger costume lying around at home to satisfy whatever sick perversions they were into in their spare time. When we later got new, Malaysian, owners it was an easy public relations win to bring back Jude. Except by now a lot of the kids, and more pointedly the club’s beloved Down’s Syndrome team (The Tiger Cubs, no less), had become quite attached to the tiger. So, now we have Jude, who all the middle-aged alcoholics like, and Spark, who all the Down’s Syndrome kids enjoy taking penalties against, and when the most excellent Warren Ringham steps out on or around November 11 and plays his latest faultless Last Post he does so to a crowd of respectfully silent football fans… and a giant cat holding hands with a giant tiger.

After I’d finished there was a momentary pause before my mate turned and said “you do realise you’ve just told me all of that with a straight face? Like it’s just a normal thing, that happens everywhere, at everybody’s club?” And he supports Sheffield Wednesday.

QPR – biggest small club, smallest big club.

Carrow Road can, at times, be one of those grounds that makes you suck your teeth and realise how far we’ve fallen, and how far we’ve got to climb back to a target that’s moving further off into the distance with every passing year we’re away from the big show. Redeveloped, with more than 27,000 seats, a hotel in the corner, a 52-inch widescreen on a giant rotating stick, a sarolium, a lift to all floors, and space around to do more. When Delia’s leg pays out they’re going to get a jacuzzi. Norwich, 40+ miles from the nearest professional club, draw big support from across Norfolk, while we’ve now got three Premier League clubs within walking distance. Their most recent fans’ forum was in Great Yarmouth, 20 miles away; how do you think we’d get on, attendance wise, with an equivalent in Slough, or Sutton, or Hatfield?

Without even getting into the disaster of Easter 1976, our results here only deepen the sense of inferiority and dread. Dogs have a better record at the neuter clinic than we do coming here. I decided this week I’d done the Devon White 4-3 win to death in the History column so went looking for another Memorable Match and had to go further back rather than forwards, to Christmas 1991 when Ray Wilkins teed up Dennis Bailey for an injury time winner.

Again, look at the contrasts here. Look at that fucking pass from Wilkins, on a frozen pitch, in the 90th minute, 35 years old. Man Utd, AC Milan, PSG, Ray Wilkins, playing so well at QPR deep into his 30s there was talk of a recall to add to his 84 England caps – and given Carlton Palmer was getting England caps in his position at this point, there should have been a public inquiry into why on earth not. Then look at who he’s passing it to – Dennis Bailey, bought from Birmingham, because the manager knew him from a loan spell at Bristol Rovers. Look at Big Devon, striding through on Bryan Gunn, slotting home from range, sending the away end in the side stand loopy. Remember how good that team was to watch. I remember my dad literally throwing me up into the air, all the limbs of the QPR faithful below me, because Devon White had scored at Norwich City. Remember how happy we all were. And then remember Devon White is an electrician from Ilkeston, who we had on the bench in case Les Ferdinand, arguably the greatest centre forward in Europe at that point, got injured. QPR – the biggest small club, the smallest big club.

Norwich, though, aren’t far behind us in those stakes, regardless of their significant advantages in stadium, pull, reach, income. They, too, could lay claim to the biggest/smallest moniker.

Norwich, like us, have only ever won the League Cup. The first time, like us, was in the 1960s when the trophy was in its infancy. Their second was in 1985. W e should, of course, have followed them a year later when we beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest, and the great 1980s Liverpool at Anfield, only to lose to Oxford in the final because, well, please see earlier paragraphs. The Canaries, like us, had waned towards the end of the 80s and that game in December 1991 was between two teams firmly in the bottom half of the First Division. Both stayed up to be founder members of the Premier League and kicked on at pace: Norwich, with a young Chris Sutton in attack, finished third in the inaugural season behind only Man Utd and Villa; QPR, led by Ferdinand with Wilkins the fulcrum, finished fifth. These days that would be thick European football for the R’s – break the glass on the emergency credit card Andy – but back then it was the Canaries who were able to progress through three rounds of UEFA Cup including a two-legged victory over Bayern Munich thanks to a goal from Jeremy Goss. Norwich City beating Bayern Munich in the Olympic Stadium? That’s mental Jeremy.

Since then, these two clubs of yo-yoed, often in unison. Chasing each other up and down the top three divisions of English football. Little booms, big busts, and back we both come to meet again, in a fixture QPR have played more than any other.

Both dipped out of the Premier League in the mid-90s at exactly the wrong time, just as the TV money exploded, allowing others who were previously light years behind them to overtake and consolidate. Fulham, for instance, in 1995/96, the year we were relegated, and a year later than Norwich had dropped, were seventeenth in Division Three. Both have disintegrated to such extent that a period in League One was required: QPR did a three year stretch between 2001 and 2004 and rebuilt the club and team from administration, a feel-good wave of optimism and momentum they largely then pissed away amidst much boardroom wrangling and dismissal of good people; Norwich did a year in 2009/10 when they infamously lost the first game 7-1 at home to Colchester and then poached the U’s manager Paul Lambert who led them to repeat promotions back to the Premier League.

Both have since had return trips to the top flight: QPR, twice, under Neil Warnock and then Harry Redknapp; Norwich, on four occasions, under Paul Lambert, Alex Neil and (twice) with Daniel Farke. Both largely wasted the opportunities that money should have brought them. Norwich have done a good deal better in investing and building their infrastructure to secure their club for the long term than QPR, still stuck at Loftus Road, but both are now kicking around the bottom end of the Championship, with parachute payments declining or gone altogether, wondering what all that was about and what else they could have done with the moment. Brighton, Brentford, Wolves etc the latest batch to go roaring past in the outside lane. I saw Matthew Rose score a last minute winner against Brighton at a converted athletics stadium, now they’re beating Ajax in Amsterdam. Bye guys, have fun.

Norwich thought they’d done the right thing. They built carefully under Farke’s considered management and the guidance of director of football Stuart Webber who’d worked miracles at Huddersfield. They didn’t go mental with their first promotion, instead saving up cash and investing in facilities, ready for a tilt in 2021/22. Then they spent north of £60m and when you look at who they spent that on – Christos Tzolis £10m, Milto Rashica £10m Josh Sargent £10m, Ben Gibson £9m, Dimitrios Giannoulis £7m, a £3m loan fee for Ozan Kabak from Schalke – you see why they ran into problems. They won none of their first ten, losing eight, and were relegated dead last. Dean fucking Smith was in charge by the end – get that helicopter closer to the blaze, I want to see in. QPR didn’t even pretend to be doing it properly. They just went up there and started squirting their load at flanges like Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Loic Remy, Chris Samba, Steven Caulker, Jordan Mutch, Rob Green, Julio Cesar, Jose Bosingwa etc right from the get-go. Like saying you're going for a swift half after work and heading straight forThe Bavarian Beer House - why even pretend?

The results have been much the same, and they are the two clubs we see before us this Saturday.

Fan relations with Webber went south long before his excruciatingly drawn-out departure which was only eventually concluded last week. The final nail drilled into the lid when his bid to rekindle the bromance he’d had at Huddersfield with busted flush David Wagner – basically Farke but with a more vanilla porn collection – fell flat. As fans have increasingly pointed fingers at Webber, so he became more obstinate and stand-offish. Dean Smith fitted that attitude perfectly; when Blackburn ran riot at Carrow Road last Christmas, Smith basically pinned it on the supporters for creating a negative atmosphere. When they subsequently went and lost at a Luton team operating on a fifth of their budget the away end sang “always our fault” on a loop from the cramped away end. A summer spending the last of your parachute payment on the fees and wages for Ashley Barnes (34), Ui-Jo Hwang (31), Shane Duffy (we’ve all had a drink) (31), Adam Forshaw (31), Danny Batth (32) and George Long (29) is not one that offers a lot of hope for the future, nor any real indication the guy overseeing it gives very much of a toss any more. It feels like a club settling in for a long Championship stay.

When Norwich surprisingly snapped their latest long losing run with a win at Cardiff last week, Webber came onto the pitch for a guard of honour from the players – well, sure, they’re happy, he gave them these contracts – but ignored the away end. A final ‘fuck you’ in a bitter divorce. Zero awareness, maximum contempt. Arsenal loan manager Ben Knapper is a forward-thinking appointment, but he’s got all on with what he’s inheriting here. Forget the yellow shirts and the cuddly mascots and the celebrity chef and that weird wartime karaoke they insist upon at kick off – this is a club ready to pop.

QPR, too, pointed fingers at their director of football Les Ferdinand for their recent failings. That’s not unjust. The decision to dispense with Mark Warburton for – essentially, in his own less than tactful and diplomatic way – telling the truth about the club’s academy players and staff, did not look wise at the time and has proven disastrous with hindsight. The faith (and hype) in Mick Beale was misplaced and exploded. Neil Critchley was – very, very kindly – the right man at the wrong time. Gareth Ainsworth was a hopelessly desperate pull on the nostalgia lever that worked only in the sense that his team managed to fluke the most ridiculous QPR win I’ve ever seen at Burnley and stay up. Without that, and Reading’s points deduction, they’d have gone down, and deserved it. Ainsworth wasn’t Ferdinand’s appointment, they’d taken the keys from him, his position was untenable. I still say the most damning indictment of Ferdinand came before that - getting eight years into his reign and having to bring Chris Martin here off contract to play up front because Lyndon Dykes (himself, clearly, not very good) got pneumonia and you didn’t have a boy in the building capable of charging about missing sitters for six weeks while he was sidelined. Rangers, though, haven’t got better for Ferdinand’s departure – in fact, things have got a lot, lot worse.

QPR and Norwich both have a benevolent ownership who clearly want their clubs to succeed. When you look at what’s going, and gone, on at Everton, Sheff Wed, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Derby… you realise how much worse it could be than Delia Smith, and Ruben Gnanalingam. Neither, though, know what they’re doing. QPR, as shown when the keys to the safe and the cheque book were handed to Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp, are in more desperate need of a sporting director/director of football than any other club in the country. Norwich’s waxing and waning has coincided directly with either an inspirational man in that role, or accidentally appointing a brilliant manager during a frog kissing contest. Both clubs, having shot their Premier League shot and done a full Stan Bowles into the table on Super Stars, are now obviously being left behind by the grotesque acceleration of the Middle Eastern despot-dominated top flight of which these two formed two of the first top five. Both cannot live with their clueless ownership, but cannot live without it.

The key is an innovative, inspirational figure to drive the football side of the business to greatness. Norwich hope Knapper will be theirs. QPR’s Marti Cifuentes-shaped swing at a three and two pitch continues tomorrow, in Norwich, at 3pm.

Links >>> That Bailey winner – History >>> Borrowed time – Interview >>> Martin in charge – Referee >>> Norwich Official Website >>> The Pink ‘Un — Local Press and Forum >>> Eastern Daily Press — Local Press >>> My Football Writer - Norwich City >>> Along Come Norwich - Blog

90’s Football Conspiracy Theories No.15 In The Series – Phillippe Albert once pissed himself at a Little Chef in rural Northumberland after overdosing on Kabbalah Water. Kevin Keegan said it was Philippe’s own personal choice and “fair enough”.

Below the fold

Team News: Paul Smyth’s yellow card for dissent against Bristol City moves him onto five in the Championship and a one-match ban. Suspensions have been an issue for QPR so far this season and the cards that have triggered the last four of them have been for dissent (Smyth), kicking the ball away (Chair), retaliation to his own foul (Dozzell) and scuffing the penalty spot up (Dunne). What’s the opposite of game smarts? Game… dumbs? Other than that though it’s hopefully a clean bill of health for this trip with Ilias Chair back from his ban and Reggie Cannon and Jake Clarke-Salter both training this week. Rayan Kolli had a slight knee problem while playing for Algeria’s U20s for the first time.

Norwich’s season has cratered from a bright, free-scoring start, which included a League Cup win at Loftus Road in August. While David Wagner has copped plenty of stick for this, he has had to contend with a series of injuries to key players.
In attack, Josh Sargent scored in three of the first four league games but hasn’t played since August 26 and is still three weeks away. Ashley Barnes arrived in the summer from Burnley and, while you should probably know you’re taking a risk on a player who turned 34 in October, he was present for those early games which included the team scoring four at Southampton and Huddersfield. The Canaries won six and drew one of his nine appearances before injury ruled him out from September 20 onwards – he returns to the squad for the first time since then this weekend. Just as well because Jon Rowe, who scored five in the first five games, including the late winner against QPR in the cup, and has eight overall, withdrew from the England U21s during the break with a heel problem that has been ongoing for sometime. Loaned Nottingham Forest striker Hwang Ui-Jo scored for South Korea against Singapore during the week, but was also questioned by the country’s cybercrime unit over allegations he secretly filmed homemade porn of his ex and shared it without consent. He denies this, says she was bang up for it, and merely lost his phone while playing for Olympiakos with all the other Nottingham Forest cast offs – he’s suing her back for defamation. Whether he’s had his Hwang out where it was not wanted, or is fine and free to play this weekend, is a headache for new sporting director Ben Knapper.

There have been problems at the back as well. Defensive mainstay Grant Hanley is yet to play this season and won’t be back until December while his partner Ben Gibson has been out for a month and has another one of those ahead of him. First choice keeper Angus Gunn last played in defeat to Leeds on October 21 and won’t play any of the three games this week. Midfielder Jacob Sorensen is also sidelined while Marcelino Nunez only got back from international duty with Chile today.

Elsewhere: If QPR could have scored a full blown actual goal of their own and knocked over Bristol City last time out it would have given them an even bigger boost than usual at the bottom of the table because of the results elsewhere. Rotherham got beaten 5-0 at Watford and dismissed manager Matt Taylor, Sheff Wed lost 4-0 at home to Millwall and their new boss Joe Edwards, Huddersfield went down 1-0 at Hull, Birmingham 3-1 at Sunderland and Plymouth 2-1 at Leeds. Coventry’s 0-0 at home to Stoke was the only other point picked up by any of the bottom six.

Difficult to predict the Championship at the best of times but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that another such chance should present itself this weekend with a tough set of games for those teams around us at the bottom.

Our plight puts us in the uncomfortable position of having to support Leeds again tonight in the televised game at Rotherham – the Millers don’t appear to have sacked Taylor with any great plan or forethought as to who might come next, and Neil Warnock has already ruled out a second rescue job at the New York Stadium. Tomorrow’s it’s Huddersfield’s turn to dance the dance of a thousand passes at home to Russell Martin’s Southampton, Coventry are the oppo for Edwards first game at The Den, while Plymouth host high-flying Sunderland.

A cup tie at Trumpton and Camberwick Green would probably prove too much for Sheff Wed in their current state – currently running at two rambling official statements from the chairman for every point gained in the league. They might fancy their chances this weekend though with Birmingham City’s latest act of managerial hubris going about as well as one of Daddy Elon’s rocket launches – down to 19th from sixth after four defeats and a draw. They meet at St Andrew’s on Saturday and, from a QPR point of view, they can’t both win.

At the top end there’s been the merest hint of a wobble from Leicester with two consecutive defeats for the first time allowing Ipswich to draw level with them on 39. The Foxes host Watford while Town are at West Brom in the early evening TV game. Leeds, who we’ve already mentioned, are eight points back after three straight wins with Southampton fourth. Preston have snapped a seven match winless streak with two victories prior to the international break to continue hanging around in fifth and they’ll win again this weekend, at home to Cardiff, if they can replicate an excellent showing at Blackburn last time out. Sunderland complete the six ahead of their slog down to the South West.

The chasing pack is made up of West Brom, Hull who are Swansea, Cardiff, and Middlesbrough who are away at Bristol City.

Stoke v Blackburn is also taking place this weekend for want of something better to do with everybody’s time.

Referee: Steve Martin co-wrote and starred in the 1986 comedy western movie Three Amigos, directed by John Landis. Details.

Form

Norwich: Sixteenth was our pre-season prediction for Norwich and 16th is where they reside, but for a while there at the start it looked like things were turning in the right direction for this increasingly listless football club. They won six and drew one of their first seven games, four of those wins in the Championship, scoring 17 goals in the process including four away to both Southampton (4-4) and Huddersfield (4-0). As pointed out in the team news, £8m forward Josh Sargent scored in three of his first four Championship matches and hasn’t played since, while Ashley Barnes was rated as a key figure with two goals of his own and just two defeats in his first nine appearances and he, too, has not been seen since. Take both first choice strikers, both first choice centre backs and the goalkeeper out of any Championship team and it’s going to struggle.

The drop off since then has, admittedly, been pretty dramatic. City lost seven and drew one of nine games conceding 22 goals in the process. That includes a 6-2 walloping down at Plymouth, and three conceded to each of Blackburn, Sunderland and Leeds (who they had led 2-0 at Carrow Road before losing 3-2). With two wins in ten they came crashing back throught the league and afdter a debacle at home to Blackburn, who played most of the second half here with ten men, time seemed certain to be up for David Wagner. Only the changeover in sporting director seemed to be delaying the German’s dismissal but he and his team then went and surprisingly won at play-off chasing Cardiff with two goals in the last ten minutes turning round a 2-1 deficit in a typically wild game.

With that back story it won’t surprise you to learn Norwich have the division’s worst defence, with 32 goals conceded which is five more than even the abysmal totals QPR and Sheff Wed have posted. They’ve also, however, got the second best attack, with 29 goals scored the same as league leaders Leicester and behind only Ipswich on 36. The Canaries have scored in every one of their league and cup games bar a 2-0 home loss to Leicester, but have only kept four clean sheets in 16 league games and none in the last seven. Jon Rowe, with seven in the league and eight in the cup thanks to his last minute winner at Loftus Road in August, is the league’s fourth top scorer behind Sammie Szmodics (10), Adam Armstrong and Jack Clarke (both nine).

Norwich are one of three Championship sides without a draw on their own patch along with Blackburn and Sunderland – it’s four wins (Hull, Millwall, Stoke, Birmingham) and four defeats (Leicester, Leeds, Boro, Blackburn) at Carrow Road so far. Thre eof their last four draws here have been nil nil, including our last visit. They’ve lost each of their last three and four of the last five on this ground having started with three straight victories.

QPR: Marti Cifuentes has stopped the rot of six straight defeats with a pair of draws since taking over but QPR remain second bottom of the league and five points adrift of safety. The clean sheet against Bristol City was just the third the team has kept this season. Here comes the bit where we copy and paste from the last preview and add one to all the numbers that show you how seldom QPR win, or even score a goal, and how long that’s been going on for…

Since we beat Reading 4-0 at Loftus Road at the end of January 2021 to push into the Championship’s automatic promotion picture we have won just 19 out of 88 matches and lost 46. At home we’ve won just eight of 40, losing 22. Since we topped the Championship exactly a year ago by beating Wigan 2-1 at home we’ve won just six times in 48 games, losing 30; at home we’ve lost 17 out of our last 23 and won only once in a calendar year. This season it’s two wins from 17 overall, and six defeats and a two draws from eight at home. We are currently on a club record run of no wins in 13 home games and are yet to win at home this season. We haven’t scored three goals in a game in 49 attempts going back more than a year. We have scored more than one in a game only five times in our last 47 attempts. The last time we came from behind to win was against Reading at home on October 7 last year, 51 games ago – since then we have recovered just three points from losing positions and are since winless in 29 games when conceding the first goal. At the other end only Norwich have conceded more than our 27 goals, and we’re nursing a record of only two clean sheets.

QPR do not like Norwich the place, or Norwich the team. The 0-0 here last season, where the only scoring was done on the concourse at half time, was a second draw in a row in this fixture but stretched Rangers’ winless run at Carrow Road to eight which includes two 4-0 defeats. Martin Rowlands’ thrice-taken free kick for a 1-0 in a game in which Rangers played more than an hour with ten men was the last time the R’s won here, back in September 2008. It’s our only win in 18 visits during which time we’ve lost 12 times and conceded four goals on four different occasions. Things don’t get a lot better when you include the Loftus Road meetings. No wins in seven league and cup games against Norwich, and the Ebere Eze-inspired 4-1 over James Madison’s Canaries in 2018 and the 2-1 win on Ian Holloway’s second coming as manager the year before are the only two wins we have against the Yellows in 18 meetings. We’ve failed to score in seven of the last 12 encounters.

Prediction: We’re once again indebted to The Art of Football for agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. You can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s newly extended QPR collection here. Let’s see what our reigning champion Aston got for us this week…

“Hard to know how this one plays out. By all accounts Wagner is on his last legs and needs one more bad result to push him over the edge. They are definitely far less than the sum of their parts under him. We are also much better under Cifuentes and he's had two weeks to work on the training ground with the bulk of the squad. But that doesn't help us to score more goals. I'm going for the cop out and going 1-1 again. Ilias Chair to score.”

Aston’s Prediction: Norwich 1-1 QPR. Scorer – Ilias Chair

LFW’s Prediction: Norwich 2-1 QPR. Scorer – Ilias Chair

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TacticalR added 21:38 - Nov 24
Thanks for your preview.

QPR. Twinned with Norwich.

A decade ago Ingham wrote: 'I think that, in our minds, we're building something big out of something small. This is West London, so we're a big small club, not one of those undersized outfits apparently confined for ever to the lower leagues'
https://qprreport.proboards.com/post/296623/thread

Maybe that's the difference. Norwich is a one-club city, whereas as we're in London we feel our boundaries are everywhere and nowhere.

At least Norwich have upgraded their stadium, while Fernandes, having identified the ground as the key issue for the club, made no absolutely no progress in dealing with the issue.

Anyway, we have more pressing problems to deal with, like remembering how to win a game of football.
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bathhoop added 07:45 - Nov 25
“And he supports Sheffield Wednesday”
Clive, you are simply brilliant.
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